White Cedar

 White cedar 03White Cedar is a tree with important uses in traditional Ojibwe culture. Honored with the name NookomisGiizhik (“Grandmother Cedar”), the tree is the subject of sacred legends and is considered a gift to humanity for its myriad uses.It is used in craft, construction, and medicine.


It is one of the four plants of the Ojibwe medicine wheel, associated with the south. The foliage of Thuja occidentalisis rich in Vitamin C and is believed to be the annedda which cured the scurvy of Jacques Cartier and his party in the winter of 1535–1536. Due to the neurotoxic compound thujone, internal use can be harmful if used for prolonged periods or while pregnant.

Northern white cedar is commercially used for rustic fencing and posts, lumber, poles, shingles and in the construction of log cabins. White cedar is the preferred wood for the structural elements, such as ribs and planking, of birch bark canoes and the planking of wooden canoes.

white cedar 02The essential oil within the plant has been used for cleansers, disinfectants, hair preparations, insecticides, liniment, room sprays, and soft soaps. There are some reports that the Ojibwa made a soup from the inner bark of the soft twigs. Others have used the twigs to make teas to relieve constipation and headache.

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